By Millicent Senava Mannah
With support from Orange Sierra Leone and other partners, the Orange International Social Venture Prize Winner, 2022, Joseph P. Koroma, on the 9th March, 2023 launched the Lifeblood App which is geared towards helping donor or medical facilities to get more blood in their blood banks. The auspicious event was held at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital on Fourah Bay Road in Freetown.
Speaking at the Launch, Annie Wonnie Karta, intimated that Orange SL believes in innovation and in empowering the youth furthering how in 2011, they launched the Orange Social Venture Prize to reward local entrepreneurs and innovators, and according to her, it is organized once a year and held in all the countries that Orange operates.
She continued that during the competition they asked young people to bring their innovative ideas across the countries Orange operate to pitch it to them, stating how the innovative ideas must be able to solve societal issues, so those innovative ideas should solve problems affecting the country.
Annie disclosed that 2022 was the first time for Sierra Leone to win the International Grand Prize and it was won by no other innovation but Lifeblood revealing how excited it was to be part of it also disclosing that wherever they put their money they want to see it move forward.
She also applauded Concern Worldwide and how they always partner with organizations to put the country forward. She further disclosed how she accompanied Joseph to collect the Grand Prize commending him for putting Sierra Leone in the Map.
The Representative from Concern Worldwide, stated that they are delighted to give their support saying maternal mortality in Sierra Leone is a big concern despite the fact that huge improvement have been made in the country but it is still high further disclosing how they are hoping that their support to this App will be able to address the issue of blood availability as lack of it leads to maternal mortality.
He maintained that they are delighted to be part of the project and to support it adding how they believe in innovative ways of solving problems and addressing issues saying that is why they are a part of the project and how they are learning from the project, and how they are proud to be part of the launch.
The winner, Joseph P. Koroma, expressed his thanks and appreciation to Orange SL, Concern and other partners for supporting the launching of the App, noting that, Lifeblood is a digital project.
He intimated that Lifeblood has been a very long journey from where it began and where they are now, and how they are not stopping, they are continuing.
‘’Lifeblood is one that was born from the day that I was born because if I was not alive I would not have had this drive, this passion , this zeal, this courage going through all the trials, the huddles to see that whatever comes I shall overcome them,’’ he asserted.
‘’As a child, I was saved through blood transfusion and also I am a medical student, and with skills I developed the Lifeblood App, the more I become, the more I learn, and the more I realize more needs to be done, and I will continue to go hence I have the support from partners.’’ Joseph stated.
According to him they are going to launch something that was not only designed by him alone, but a team, and how with the support of Concern they were able to come up with implementation plans.
Joseph revealed that they first trained lab technicians and how they did data gathering stating that if you want to know where you are going, you need to know where you are from. According to him, Lifeblood operates in four facilities, Connaught, PCMH, Rokupa Government Hospital, 34 Military hospital.
Mahmoud Idriss, Chairman for the company that produced the Lifeblood App said he personally believes that the technology will help make the work easier for everyone. He expressed his thanks to the Ministry of Health for adopting the use of the App for blood services and Concern for piloting the App in the facilities they are supporting.
He maintained that Lifeblood is about helping the facilities to manage their processes, and how it is also a community App to make it easy for donors to know the facilities where they can get blood. Further stating how it is more about mobilizing donors and communities to be able to donate blood.
Various statements were made by people who have been donating their blood, stating how they are calling on all those that are eligible to donate for them to also help save lives.